The day has finally come to take your puppy on her first walk in the outside world. The sun is shining and you’re both excited – this is about to be a walk to remember. But as soon as Fizzy is out the door, it’s a battle to get her to walk by your side. She is pulling on the leash making it seem like she’s taking you for a walk, rather than the other way around! This is not the walk you envisaged.
If she is still pulling as an adult, this could lead to a dangerous situation which could injure both you and your little rascal. You need to teach her how to heel, both for your safety and enjoyment.
The ‘heel’ command in itself is pretty effective. Puppies respond well to commands with short, sharp, easily recognizable tones. It’s a tried and tested prompt that many dog owners use to mean ‘come back and walk by my side’.
It may seem like a difficult task is ahead of you. Puppies are often very excitable and will be especially riled up by all the new sounds, sights and smells they will be experiencing. But puppies are also quick to learn, so the best time to approach this type of behavioral training is now! It could take a matter of days if implemented right from her first walk. But it’s more likely that a couple of weeks may be necessary to make it an ingrained behavior. Remember, consistency is key! So don’t give up too early, and make sure you maintain your response even after the training is complete.
The first thing you will need to get your puppy to heel is some treats. These act as a reward for positive behavior, thereby encouraging it. You may also want to use a clicker. This can be used at the same time as a treat is given. Your puppy will associate the click with a reward and will respond as if she is receiving a treat. It will make it easier to wean her off using food all the time.
You will be training your puppy on her next walk, so grab your leash, harness, and poop bags, then let’s go!